Is Big Brother Watching?

March 9, 2016 | Author: Julie Curtis

Intersec, the world’s leading trade fair for security, safety and fire protection took place in Dubai earlier this year. Honeywell had a large presence, showcasing our products that range from smart building solutions, fire protection to cyber security. I had the opportunity to walk the halls observing the stand with an array of camera’s following me and recording my every movement. It made me think, "Where does protection end and invasion of privacy start?" Do we even have the right to question privacy when most of us have online social media accounts showing the world who we are? Everyone accepts that safety is a huge factor, you may have seen the fire that broke out at the Address Hotel in downtown Dubai on New Year’s Eve. The fact that no one was injured was due to the hotel’s fire system, monitors and sensors all detecting heat and fire. This certainly falls under the 'protection category'.

Several years ago when I lived in London, one of the local newspapers reported there was one CCTV camera for every 11 people in the UK. I expect that the number of camera’s has increased even further now. Some police forces are using Facebook and social media to show CCTV footage of crimes to get leads on investigations. Could this be considered an invasion? People could be wrongly accused over social media without any real detective work.

When it comes to protection it’s not just the physical element we need to think about. These days most companies are in greater endanger from cyber-attacks then someone actually breaking in to their premises. I had the opportunity to speak to James King, General Manager of Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc (HTSI) for the Middle East region. He explained to me the role of HTSI: "Our core business started 50 years ago on the military side where we were enlisted to set up safe and secure base camps all over the world. Over the years more awareness on computers and information security became apparent. In response to the changing nature of the threat Honeywell developed several unique products that increased security and efficiency in Computer Network Defense (CND), Information Assurance (IA) and Certification and Accreditation (C&A) we need to be able to quickly address any vulnerabilities in our customer’s operating systems."

How do you see your business working in the Middle East?

"People say that Dubai is a safe place to live. This might be the case, but don’t forget about the hackers and natural or manmade disaster. Honeywell offers a unique auditing services for our customers assessing both physical and cyber security. We conduct site assessments, review processes and documentation, assist with disaster recovery and business-continuity planning. Making our customer safer and ready for any adversity."

What happens if you find an issue?

"We offer our customer the best value solutions tailored to their needs and budget."

Do you only offer Honeywell products as a solution?

"Only if the team feel this is the best equipment. We are not bound to use just our own products. We want the customer to have every option available and to help them make the right decision to keep them secure. We best fit to our customer requirements."

How are you fighting the cyber-attacks?

"We have developed a system that can be plugged into our customer’s network and shows the vulnerabilities. We offer the answers to prevent it from happening. Honeywell provides complete end-to-end solutions to support."

Surveillance is certainly not going away. As technology grows to make it quicker and easier to identify people, I think we need to come to terms with the fact that soon it will be very hard to not be watched. I certainly have gotten in the habit of covering my laptop camera as I often travel for work and have my computer on late in the evening while getting ready for bed.
With hackers getting smarter and finding new ways to access your information, you have to be glad companies like Honeywell are offering solutions to protect us. If Big Brother is watching, let’s make sure you can defend yourself.

Julie Curtis

Julie Curtis

Julie is a Senior Marketing Specialist in the Defense and Space division of Honeywell Aerospace covering EMEAI (Europe, Middle East, Africa and India) region. Julie joined Honeywell in May 2011 and has a background in events, marketing and public relations in the technology industry. She is based in our Dubai office in the Middle East.

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